The Construction Industry Hat Tricks
As manufacturers and suppliers of safe access solutions for working at height, here at Safety Fabrications we take a keen interest in the issue of safety in the workplace. We strive to provide our clients with the safest means of access, whatever the situation and deliver a solution that is tailored to their individual needs. Whether it’s fixed access safety ladders, companionway ladders, step units and stairways of fall protection posts, safety is the most important issue.
Earlier this month we brought our readers some useful information on reducing the risks on construction sites by using personal protective equipment (PPE). Today we’re going to take a look at an item of PPE that is ubiquitous on buildings sites across the world – the hard hat, or safety helmet.
Head protection is one of the most important issues when it comes to safety as the head is where your brain is housed, the nerve centre for your whole body. If your brain is damaged, nothing else will function properly, so head protection really is vital – this means choosing the right type of hard hat for the type of work you do. By the right type of hard hat, we’re not talking about whether it has a full brim or micro peak – we’re talking about whether it’s robust enough to stand up to the type of damage that might occur on the specific task being carried out.
The chance of a head injury occurring on a construction site is more likely than in most other sectors and under the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Regulations 1992, employers are legally obliged to provide their personnel with a hard hat designed specifically for the task at hand. Any hard hat used on a UK construction site must be manufactured to BS EN 397 – this means it will have been rigorously tested for impact resistance and flame retardance. These helmets are specifically designed to protect the head from falling objects, a common occurrence on construction sites.
Hard hats are intended to provide an in-use lifespan of up to five years from the date of first use and helmet manufacturers are required to include a moulded-in indicator of the date of production (often in the form of a calendar). The CE mark is also moulded in and any helmet being used in the UK should be CE marked. When it comes to the lifespan of a hard hat, it’s salient to point out that storage of a hard hat will affect its lifespan. Storing a hardhat where it may be in direct sunlight at times (such as in a vehicle), will shorten the lifespan as the sunlight causes the hard hat to become brittle. If a hard hat is used in an aggressive environment or incurs excessive wear and tear, the lifespan will be shortened. Any helmet that is subjected to impact (from a falling object or from the helmet falling) should be replaced immediately as it may have been weakened despite the fact that there is no visible damage.